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A poison tree - william blake

The original title of this poem - “Christian forbearance” - and the themes that the Romantic poet and painter Blake explored in his poetry suggest a moral assessment of the “destructive effects” of anger.

My intent is not to counsel forbearance, but to problematise the Christian notion of self-denial and restraint. Think, for instance, how this poem would hve sounded had this poison tree taken root in the mind of Dhasal, Meena Kandasamy, or one of the students in JNU who was thrashed in a heinous planned act of terror. Some years ago, I had written in my notebook:

turn sorrow into anger; sorrow inspires poetry. anger, on the other hand, is the bedrock of action.

I repeat this sentiment today, because it comes from the heart. Yesterday, an angry mob planted their poison tree once again in the heart of JNU, one of the few places where the true idea of India as a sovereign, secular, democratic country still exists.

I ask you, what kind of government enables the police to attack its own people? What kind of political strategy justifies the vandalism and prohibition of ambulances into a place where there are scores of injured? What kind of twisted evil resides in the hearts of men who are ready to sacrifice the young for their idea of purity? What hypocrisy taints our nation today, where the state instructs its terrorist youth cadres to enter public university hostels, armed with a list to identify protestors, armed with shovels, hammers, bricks and rods, goaded on by the police?

I can hear our prime minister and home minister whispering to each other smugly “these “anti-nationals” have to be taught a lesson”, and their minions jeering them on.

There will be education. Yes. It is our fascist leaders who will be schooled. Students fighting for their rights are not like them. They do not lie, misappropriate, or deceive. They wear their hearts on their sleeve. They learn, and they show us truth through their actions and words.

JNU, Jamia, AMU, DU and countless other universities across the country are showing how this fascist state can be overthrown. It is our duty to follow their example.





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